From albums like “Hot Pink” to hit singles such as “Kiss Me More,” Doja Cat has always been confined to the typical catchy pop girl archetype. Her trendy beats and mainstream lyrics never positioned her in the rap genre, but with the recent release of “Scarlet” on Sept. 21, we see a drastic change to this perspective.
On this 15-track record with zero features, Doja creates an album that truly displays her capacity to not only be a competent rapper, but to be a dominant force in the game as well.
This becomes crystal clear as Doja embodies all the slander her haters have thrown her way, and delves into a dark, moody and evil aesthetic throughout the album. These nefarious motifs directly contrast with her previous album “Planet Her.”
Doja created an immersive campaign prior to the release of “Scarlet” by completely recoloring her previous albums in various shades of crimson and (shocker) scarlet.
This redesign, accompanied by a slew of strange social media posts that depict weird distortions of Doja’s body and a variety of unsettling artwork, made audiences question her sanity. In turn, this sent a wave of criticism toward the Grammy-winning artist from both fans and critics alike as they tried to figure out the new phase of Doja’s career.
From the singles alone, it’s clear that Doja is on a warpath to inform the world that she couldn’t care less about what critics have to say about her current look, music or life choices. This grows ever more apparent when focusing on the release order of “Attention,” “Paint the Town Red” and “Demons.”
In “Attention,” Doja takes the time to explicitly engage with the public and explains that she knows the only reason people talk about her mental well-being is to get a few likes or a “blue check” (referencing verification on X, formerly Twitter). Following up in “Paint the Town Red,” Doja douses herself in some of her most frequent critiques, wearing the hate comments as a badge of honor as she raps about thriving in the life of fame.
Finally, only weeks before dropping the album, Doja Cat released her horror-core masterpiece “Demons.” It’s essentially about her becoming the evil, deranged lunatic the public perceives her to be.
Doja reclaiming the labels and judgment thrown at her is seen throughout the entire album as she continues to show off her artistic freedom on tracks like “Wet Vagina” when she says, “Kick me out the Met, but I really run fashion.”
Doja does not stop at just acknowledging the hate she receives; however, in almost every track she berates and claps back at the negative things said about her.
Songs such as “Skull and Bones” have cheeky remarks about “the only thing [she’s] sold was a record,” when there were rumors regarding whether or not the infamous artist sold her soul as a means to obtain fame.
This album is a perfect rebrand for Doja as she settles her grievances with the media and owns her story as a rapper. While this album definitely has brooding rap anthems, the predicted fan favorite “Agora Hill,” features Doja performing on a pop-esque track that sheds light on her innate desire to share her love life, even though the world is against her.
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“Scarlet” is a beautifully crafted work of art that, unlike many albums, is an entertaining yet personal look into an artist’s life. It maintains an upbeat and refreshing grit that attracts both new and current fans alike.
So whether it be another loss of half a million followers or comments saying she sold her soul, Doja has made it perfectly clear that she will always be her authentic self, or as she said on her Instagram Story on Sept. 24, “I’m just Amala pls.”